Four elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences


PULLMAN, Wash. – Four researchers at Washington State University have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2015.

They are recognized for an outstanding record of scientific achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state.

The new members will be inducted into the WSAS during the eighth annual meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Sept. 17, bringing the total of active members to 240.

WSU individuals elected by the WSAS membership are:

Gustavo V. Barbosa-Canovas, professor of food engineering

Patricia Ann Hunt, Meyer Distinguished Professor in molecular biosciences

W. Sue Ritter, Regents professor in integrative physiology and neuroscience

Yong Wang, Voiland Distinguished Professor in chemical engineering and bioengineering with a joint appointment at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

* Barbosa-Canovas requested not to be included in this article. Learn more about him at

* Hunt joined the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University in 2005 as a Meyer Distinguished Professor.

Her research investigates the genetic control of reproduction in mammals with a focus on chromosome structure and function, human infertility and the effects of environmental toxins on reproduction. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 15 years. Her findings about the effects of plastics component bisphenol A (BPA) on reproduction have had far-reaching impact.

In 2007, she was named one of the top 50 researchers of the year by Scientific American, and in 2012 she received the Jacob Heskel Gabby Award in Biotechnology and Medicine from Brandeis University. She is a member of the board of directors for the Frontiers in Reproduction summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass.

* Ritter is a Regents professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She has been at WSU since 1974.

Her internationally recognized research has focused on nutrient monitoring by brain and peripheral systems, with a primary focus on glucose, a required metabolic fuel for the brain. Her research contributes to the understanding of side effects of insulin treatment in diabetes and the brain mechanisms controlling food intake.

She received the Pfizer Award for Excellence in Research from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine (1996), was named the WWAMI Science in Medicine Lecturer (2004) and received the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and the Arts (2009). She served as a regular member on the National Institutes of Health Study Section (NNB) (2004-08) and at various times as an ad hoc member.  She served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Diabetes and Obesity Center for Excellence, University of Washington Medical School, (2007-10).

* Wang is Voiland Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and a WSU alumnus (M.S. ’92, Ph.D. ’93, chemical engineering).

With WSU since 2009, he is an internationally known researcher in energy and renewable fuels. His work to improve the efficiency of catalysts, which are used in many industries to chemically transform and create products and fuel, is important to increasing supplies, reducing costs and improving environmental impacts of petroleum-based and alternative fuels.

Wang is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), which is the largest chemical sciences organization in Europe, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Chinese Institute of Engineers named him the 2006 Asian American Engineer of the Year. He is the recipient of three R&D 100 awards (1997, 1999 and 2008), which annually recognize the 100 most significant and innovative new technologies that have been introduced in the marketplace.